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Night sights on handgun for home defense, or any sights and a flashlight?

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by RifleEnthusiast, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. RifleEnthusiast

    RifleEnthusiast Close to Oregon City Active Member

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    A few days ago, I saw a video for one of the top shooters in the world where he said he doesn't like night sights on a handgun for home defense since you need to see your target and not just your sights, he said he prefers regular iron sight and a flashlight, that made me think, it seemed logical to me, I just wanted to know what others thought.
     
  2. Outrider

    Outrider Oregon Active Member

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    You can have both night sights and a flashlight. Flashlights can be used for target location and target identification. You can use the light to blind, disorient, or even distract the other person but really the key here is making sure the person you are about to shoot is someone who needs to be shot. There are plenty of true stories where people have shot loved ones in their homes after mistaking them for burglars in low light conditions.

    The name "night sights" is a bit misleading. While you can see them in pitch black conditions, they are intended to be an aid for low light shooting where you can see your target but you need a reference to line up the sights. Some people do prefer other sights but there are plenty of people who can attest to the utility of night sights for armed encounters with criminals in low light conditions.

    And if you really want to make this an interesting little adventure, you can start looking into laser sights.

    Each thing has its purpose. Each has its own pluses and minuses.
     
  3. SVT-ROY

    SVT-ROY Tigard Resident Beretta guru

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    I agree with outrider, night sights are for low light shooting. My number one priority is to identify a possible threat before shots are fired, not after. I slapped a surefire x300 on my nightstand gun first, then laser grips and last trijicon night sights. That covers no light, low light, and akward stances or shooting from cover(laser). But before the railed light a surefire defender, was and still is on hand.
     
  4. Spray-n-pray

    Spray-n-pray Battle Ground Moderator Staff Member Bronze Supporter

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    I like night sights. With them, you can make sure the sights are lined up in a dark environment before turning on the flashlight. As soon as the light comes on, night sights look like standard sights anyway, but at least you do't have to try and line them up while possibly trying to identify a target.
     
  5. PDXGS

    PDXGS Aloha... yes, Aloha, Oregon Member

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    1.Trigicon Night sights for when batteries or reflexes fail
    2.Crimson Trace LASER grip system. I prefer to use a separate light and LASER system
    3.A handheld flashlight- a quality light that you only engage once you've located the target and in such a manner that your light becomes the target, not your face

    My home defense rig is an M&P 9 with a CT Grip LASER and a CT Railmaster light in a strobe mode. There's a wicked-bright flashlight on the nightstand near the pistol.
    This is a combination that I know my wife can handle without any issues- otherwise it would be a .45 with the same accessories.
     
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  6. jordanvraptor

    jordanvraptor Oregon City, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I remember when I was in the advanced academy in Portland and a group of us shot the standard qualification course at night. I would usually score a high 90 in the daylight. At night, with my Trijicon night sights and flashlight. I scored an 88 and a 90 I think. Other officers without night sights were failing with scores in the 60's. I believe night sights definitely do help even when you have a light. For those times when you don't have time to access a light or it fails or is tactically a bad idea, night sights will be invaluable. I also have come to appreciate the Crimson Trace lasergrips.
     
  7. raindog

    raindog Portland, OR Active Member

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    That's exactly my recipe as well: Surefire x300 with the DG remote grip switch + Crimson Trace + Trijicons. I have used Meprolights and might prefer them a little but that's a separate discussion.

    Just want to add that both the light and laser are optional at any time. If you grip the gun, both come on automatically. But you can also can grip the gun securely and not trip the light switch, flick it on/off, etc. You can get a good weaver grip without turning on the light - it's takes a minimum amount of pressure to activate.

    For the laser, it's on automatically, but can be blocked by raising your finger slightly. If your index finger is straight out (standard "finger off the trigger" grip), it's a small movement to bring your finger up to block the laser (CT actually shows this technique in their DVD). Of course, if your finger is on the trigger and you're preparing to shoot, the laser is not blocked.

    I know there's a lot of theory about how a separate flashlight is better. For me, after considerable thought, I prefer this system. At 3am when the alarm goes off or the dog barks, I'm going to be groggy. If I was full awake, sure, separate gun and light techniques would be a lot easier to execute. For middle-of-night, less to think about and less coordination is my preference.
     
  8. 2gr8dgs

    2gr8dgs oregon Active Member

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    I like that my night sights orientate the gun at night, on the bed stand.
     
  9. EagleEyeEOD

    EagleEyeEOD Pacific NW Member

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    I didn't take the time to read everyone's response, but tacticool self-defense real-world questions typically get my 2cents. So if it has already been listed just ignore, but I will share some wealth of knowledge I have learned and expand on your question.

    Pistol Only, Pistol with nite sights, Pistol with light, Pistol with laser, Pistol with light and laser, Pistol with flashlight???? What to do?
    -Every situation is different, War is Hell, Murphy will poop all over you when your adrenaline is running, prepare for the worst!

    The following is my opinion and my experience so do with it as you please...

    A handgun, a flashlight, a weapons mounted light, a laser, and nite sights are all tools. Just like the tools in your shed-sometimes you need them, sometimes you don't, but rarely do you carry them all in your hand at the same time.

    I personally carry a quality flashlight, a quality pistol with nite sights and have a quick mount weapons light available as I see fit.

    Flashlight is good for looking around, temporarily blinding someone, blunt object for self defense, etc. I am not a big fan of pointy, sharpened, self defense flashlights. I haven't met anyone I needed to smash in the face with a personal carry flashlight that I felt was extremely hygienic and current on all of their inoculations, all the extra self defense sharp edges, points just cause their blood to find your mouth or eye sockets. I also don't like my sap pocket or the left rear pocket of my casual pants to get all chewed by a flashlight. I personally carry one of two brands, because I have not had them fail on operations. Surefire and Led Lenser have survived all I thrown at them.

    Weapons mounted light-is good for identifying a target, defensive lighting, etc. I am not a huge fan of anything that does more than turn on and off. Strobe is cool, but not really needed. It should withstand the caliber of weapon you are firing. Once mounted they are now a lethal tool. What I mean is from case law, example patrolman is holding exterior of residence when a neighbor approaches and asks what he is up to. Patrolman illuminates civilian with weapons mounted light and city pays dearly for unjustified use of force. I have had good success with Streamlight and Surefire, prefer my surefires especially on larger calibers.

    While I am on lights, I prefer a tailcap that is momentary and momentary only. I don't like clicking thru 3,5,7, etc. settings to get to what I want and that is the damn light to turn on and turn on now! I also want it to turn off and turn off now. A momentary switch makes it very easy to eliminate the strobe feature and move around without providing a constant track. I love LED technology, the bulbs last longer, longer battery life (typically), survive shock from firing or smashing a skull or dropping on the ground. The only downside I can think of with LED is a white LED light provides no IR wavelength so a quick IR flip cap does nothing. How many lumens do you need? The US courts have helped a little here- 1 lumen per yard to see someone, 2 lumens per yard to identify a threat. So true story here-this lumen data was put out in a course I attended. So being a typical man, more is better, right!? Nope, well again the tool thing. After this was put out, I took my Surefire and loaded a cree 500 lumen bulb and kicking butt until we do a house clearing. 500 lumens at 2 feet against an eggshell wall with family pictures in frames was less than desirable (can you say "self-initiated blindness"). So then I use that data in reverse 500 lumens is good for a 250 yard shot. Well I am not taking that with my pistol and I can't think of a civilian carry situation even with a long gun (other than zombies) that you would be forced to take a 250 yard shot and be justified.

    Lasers, again an excellent tool for a good shooter. Not a substitute for training in all light situations. I don't carry on my personal weapon. I don't trust anything other the crimson trace, others have failed me in time of desire.

    I am not a fan of the combo light/laser set-ups. They probably work for a lot of people, but again this my opinion. If I stick to what I trust it will be surefire, streamlight, crimson trace and they are all good at what they do. But crimson trace is not making rated flashlights and surefire hasen't provided a laser that beats crimson trace. I prefer for my tools to work independently of each other for when Murphy starts breaking stuff they are physically separated.

    Nite sights, huge fan! There are plenty of uneven low light situations in which I can readily identify a threat and don't want to use a light to give my position away and desire the glow of the front sight post. I prefer my XS big dots. Again just my opinion.
     
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  10. rsmccsman

    rsmccsman Hillsboro Go Blazers!

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    Not much to add to the excellent points above. My experience with night shooting is that night sights are worth their weight in gold even with a good surfire in hand. I prefer weapon mounted lights on long guns but prefer a separate flashlight with my handgun so I can point my light at something without covering it with my muzzle ie my wife or kids in the middle of the night. Also you can hold the light out away from you so that return fire directed at the light is less likely to hit you. Never been a huge fan of lasers other than as a training tool, too easy to pick up bad habit of not focusing on your front sight. Certainly has its place though and I can think of applications where lasers might be the preferred sighting method.
     
  11. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    I have strategic night lights set up so I will definitely see who it is.. I am a huge adherent to night sights.. it's as important to see your sights as it is to see your intruder
     
  12. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    Having been thru a few scrapes on the street in low light conditions, I'll give ya my thoughts.

    Night sights are over rated. For the conditions that you'll find yourself in with a pistol, have a glow tube on the front sight, and leave the rear solid black.

    Anyone who thinks they can line up 3 dots in the dark, at the same time get on target in a fraction of a second and place 2-3 shots accurately, sits on the internet too much.

    Have been in pitch black areas, and have been able to pick up both sights easily. I don't care for anything that makes my eye go to the rear of the gun. The problem you're facing is out in front of you, not at the rear of your gun.

    If you choose to go with a Crimson-Trace set up, still have a night sight on the front only...Uncle Murphy has a way of getting into the workings of batteries.

    Weapon mounted light? Good and bad. Good, where the light goes, so does the muzzle. Bad, where the muzzle goes, so does the light. Be aware, and train with it.

    If you going to use a hand held light, go with Surefire. Yes, they are spendy...ok, outrageously spendy...but you'll never regret the purchase. For hand held lights, get nothing less than 150 lumens, 200 lumens being better. Go with LED, your batteries will last longer...much longer. See note above about Uncle Murphy.
    As stated above, you get too many lumens, you'll blind yourself.

    Stay away from strobes. Whomever thought of putting them on a light used for defensive/offensive purposes ought to be slapped! They can disorient the shooter as easy as the shootee.

    Best advice to give ya...talk to folks who use the equipment in the dark a lot, and on a continuous basis. They'll be able to tell ya what works, and what doesn't.
    Too many people running around, even writing books on the subject, yet haven't ever used the stuff in anything real life. UGH!


    P.S. Please folks, don't buy into the ...if you hold the light away from your body, you're less likely to get shot.

    IT DON'T WORK.

    There's too many things out there that will reflect light around enough to illuminate you just enough.

    Put the light on your target and go to work.
     
  13. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    I can align them (Tritium sights) enough to shoot well at close range. Never assume your attributes/abilities extend to another

    Now as to lights, they are a thing that can rarely be used to good effect, but sometimes
     
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  14. SVT-ROY

    SVT-ROY Tigard Resident Beretta guru

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    I have had RW experience in low light, just private armed security giggs but I did a lot of sweep and clearing, and can agree on the front sight being more important, but the rear is still needed(my eyes). So I chose to run a a combo of colors on my trijicon. Brighter front, dimmer rear. It's works just as it should, keeping focus on the front sight, but still getting a solid 3 dot lineup. This is low light mind you, in darkness I still prefer a rail mounted x300 and a handheld backup. You will learn very quickly what does and doesn't work for you.
     
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  15. EagleEyeEOD

    EagleEyeEOD Pacific NW Member

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    good info wichaka--
    a drill that I have done occasionally is taping the back sight to concentrate on the front sight post at 15 yards and in. It really drives the point home that the rear sight is superfluous for a "residential" distance shooting. (I am a big fan of scattergun for the bedroom) I like having the rear sight for any sort of distance. I prefer the XS big dot as it has a big white ball on the front sight post and the tritium is standing up at the rear. Tee up a golf ball for distance shots. My nightstand gun is my carry gun so it has front and rear tritium on it.

    RifleEnthusiast-To get back to your question, the text book answer is- study your options, get real world feedback, make an educated guess at what you try, try it in all conditions, try it often and don't be afraid or too invested in your first gear selection to try something different. I have tried dozens of different styles, options and equipment over the years. I can't name all the ones that failed or that were flawed, but I can take a quick look at what I have now and name what works for me. What works for me or anyone else on here doesn't necessarily work for you. Your experiences will make you a better shooter!
     
  16. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    I also like the XS Big Dot front sights. They will show up right nicely when the there's too much light for see the glow tube light up, yet dark enough that a plain black sight will get lost...and low conditions seem to be more often than not in this area.

    All my guns have a night sight on the front only, and the area around the tube is painted a bright color...yellow, orange, white etc.

    EagleEyeEOD nailed it..."What works for me or anyone else on here doesn't necessarily work for you. Your experiences will make you a better shooter!"
     
  17. powermad

    powermad Portland Active Member

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    As a certified light junkie I have plenty to choose from.
    None of my guns has a rail so just plain ol hand held ones.
    I have been using Coast lights for a while now and have found them reliable, bright and affordable.
    Plus they are a local company. Every tool truck that shows up has several different models.
    This is my main light for now.
    Coast A25 Focusing LED Flashlight
    The only thing I don't like is the stupid strobe feature, useless feature IMO.

    I like night sights, they are just plain 3 dots if it isn't dark enough to glow.
    I don't have have issues with my eyes focusing on the rear dots, glowing or not.
    Most find that a green front and yellow rear helps with that if you have an issue with it.
    I put a set on my FNP45 and liked them.
    I shoot both eyes open and it's never been a problem for me.
    I don't get to shoot as much as I would like but I still dry fire a lot.
    I find that most times when I draw and extend and just hold on target and then see where the sight is, I find I am on target.
    Do it enough and it just happens I suppose.

    With the abundance of different sights available it shouldn't be to hard to find a set that works for you.
    Same for lights, mounted or not.

    No comment on lasers, I have no need for one so I never had one.
    Except for the G17 I had in the 90's. It had one on it when I bought it.
    Clamped to the trigger guard and had a glue on pressure switch.
    Tried it for a bit and removed it, only real use was tormenting the cats and dogs with it.
    Never did warm up to the G17 either so I got rid of it too and went back to my DA/SA ways.

    Bottom line is.. I use what works for me when I need to put holes in something with a fast moving copper bonded hole punch.
     
  18. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    For our new matching Glock G23s my gal and I have the amber rears and green front tritium dots.. as stated it also helps in finding your gun at night
     
  19. biggie24420

    biggie24420 Beaverton Oregon Well-Known Member

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  20. longcolt

    longcolt Zephyrhills, FL Active Member

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    As crazy as this sounds if you are a 1911 shooter you will notice that when you aim your arm and shoot a lot you will get to the point where you can almost always hit your target without even looking at the sights. In a dark house you will be just fine by point shooting, nice if you have a front sight that you can see, but if not you can defend yourself. This is the advantage of the 1911, its a natural extension of your arm. Try it at the range, forget the sights and shoot. Its strange but you can even do well if you close your eyes and shoot at a target, not at the range of course. I am speaking now to those who have spent many years training with the 1911 and have lots of rounds down range. They will back up my theory.